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Catskills - Sullivan County - Ulster County Real Estate -- Catskill Farms Journal

Old School Real estate blog in the Catskills. Journeys, trial, tribulations, observations and projects of Catskill Farms Founder Chuck Petersheim. Since 2002, Catskill Farms has designed, built, and sold over 250 homes in the Hills, investing over $100m and introducing thousands to the areas we serve. Farms, Barns, Moderns, Cottages and Minis - a design portfolio which has something for everyone.

November 10, 2023

Humpty Dumpty is back to together

You hear all the time how expensive turnover is - really in any size business - but how especially in small companies that are busy, talented, and run at full capacity.  I’m only now realizing the full extent of the cost of my project manager/designer/assistant/designer/draftsperson/client concierge/receiver/shipper/office manager leaving in February.

NYC, on Marathon Day.

I’m realizing it because I finally put the band together again, and this time I actually put it together in a reasonable fashion, with reasonable expectations, and reasonable chances of success.  In the last year I took a position one person handled for 8 years - building 15-20 homes a year - and teased it out into 3 positions, all with a specific lane, all with cross-training and cross-participation in the company - ie, redundancy.

But I literally lost a year of my life doing it.  One morning started like any other, and by the end of the day my world was turned upside down in terms of lay in store for me.  Mind you, I can’t say I was hands off, but I definitely wasn’t in the weeds.  I soon was, way in the weeds, and I can say unequivocally that was exactly what the company needed.  I was exposed to every process, relationship, excess, scarcity - no one and nothing could hide from me, and what I realized was how many of our partners were phoning it in.  Nothing against them, but the previous employee just let this slow creep of other people letting her do their work, organize them, baby them.  That was the first thing that changed - as most of our vendors largest customer, each and everyone of them is giving us 2x if not more what they gave us 10 months ago - i.e., they are doing their job, doing it better, doing it with more foresight.

Minneapolis airport 4 hr layover on 17 hour travel day (supposed to be 6)

Also, and I’ve mentioned this before - I have good relationships with my partners/vendors/suppliers, but it was a little hands off.  Not now.   Now I’m in there, solving problems with them.  And I’m an expert.  Everyone benefits from my participation.  Everyone benefits from my intrusive and curious knowledge of each job.

But, as I started this thread, I’m only now adding up the costs.  I’m realizing it because now that I have an executive advisor (sort of like executive assistant but more, much more), on-staff designer/architect, a person dedicated to scheduling, ordering and receiving, a finance person and a backup book-keeper, and I’m booking business like nobody’s business.  Selling houses, signing deals, buying land, planning for the future - using my full set of newly honed and insightful skills in meaningful ways.  I bet this turnover cost me $500,000.  Not in lost revenue, but in lost profit, it was that disruptive.

Hard to be baller when you rent a Corolla.

But there’s an old saying in politics that you should never let a ‘good crisis go to waste’ a similar thing holds true in business - when in chaos, take care of all the things you need to because the incremental chaos is marginal - when things are going well, you hate to rock the boat.  When the shit hits the fan, keep throwing more shit at the fan until it washes itself clean.

We are cleaned up, ready to roll, and I’m excited about it.

Awesome hike outside Santa Fe. 2 miles up, 2 miles down.

I’m also on vacation in NM/Utah/Arizona/California, and I’m just starting to hit my vaca vibe. First stop Santa Fe, which I now love.

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